Overview U S Immigration Law


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Overview U S Immigration Law

  1. 1. AN OVERVIEW OF U.S. IMMIGRATION LAW Presented by: Suzanne G. Brummett, Esq.
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>U.S. Immigration Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Government Agencies Involved </li></ul><ul><li>Immigrant and Nonimmigrant </li></ul><ul><li>Temporary Work Visa (H-1B) </li></ul><ul><li>Other Visa Options (L-1, E-2, TN and Foreign </li></ul><ul><li>Trade Agreements) </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of Concern to Foreign Nationals </li></ul><ul><li>Labor Certification </li></ul><ul><li>Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher & National Interest Waiver </li></ul><ul><li>Quota Backlogs </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed Legislative Changes </li></ul>06/06/09
  3. 3. Where do U.S. immigration laws come from? <ul><li>Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>Bills </li></ul><ul><li>Ratification by Congress and the President </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Register Notice </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Agency Policy Memos </li></ul>
  4. 4. Which government agencies are involved? <ul><li>Department of Homeland Security (DHS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Department of Labor (DOL) </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Department of State (DOS) </li></ul>
  5. 6. Temporary Worker Visa (H-1B) <ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for dual intent </li></ul><ul><li>Can be obtained quickly under premium processing </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility in changing jobs (portability) </li></ul><ul><li>AC21 provisions for 7 th year H-1B </li></ul><ul><li>Problem Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Specialty occupation </li></ul><ul><li>definition (not everyone qualifies) </li></ul><ul><li>H-1B cap </li></ul><ul><li>High Filing costs </li></ul><ul><li>Prevailing wage issues </li></ul>
  6. 7. Other Visa Options (L-1, E-2, TN and Free Trade Agreements <ul><li>L-1 Intracompany Transferee </li></ul><ul><li>Must be employed continuously abroad for 1 of the past 3 years by parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of U.S. company </li></ul><ul><li>Enter U.S. temporarily to work for same employer or its affiliate or subsidiary </li></ul><ul><li>Managerial, executive or involves specialized knowledge </li></ul>
  7. 8. Other Visa Options (Continued) <ul><li>E Visas (Treaty Trader/Investors ) </li></ul><ul><li>Based upon Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation or Bilateral Investment Treaty or other arrangement (NAFTA between U.S. and country of which s/he is a national) </li></ul><ul><li>Solely to carry on substantial trade which is international in scope (50% or more) </li></ul><ul><li>Solely to develop and direct operations of an enterprise in which foreign national has invested (50% or more), or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital (funds must be at risk) </li></ul>
  8. 9. Other Visa Options (Continued) <ul><li>TN (NAFTA) </li></ul><ul><li>Canadians and Mexicans entering U.S. to engage in activities at a professional level </li></ul><ul><li>Bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials </li></ul><ul><li>Appendix 1603.D.1 (Occupations) </li></ul><ul><li>Self employment prohibited </li></ul><ul><li>One year limitation but can be renewed </li></ul>
  9. 10. Other Visa Options (Continued) <ul><li>Free Trade Agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore – (E visa eligibility & 5,400 H-1B1 visas) </li></ul><ul><li>Chile (E visa eligibility & 1,400 H-1B1 visas) </li></ul><ul><li>Australia (E-3 - 10,500 visas) </li></ul><ul><li>Denmark (legislation introduced 10/18 for </li></ul><ul><li>traders & investors) </li></ul>
  10. 11. Issues of Concern to Foreign Nationals <ul><li>Obtaining work authorization </li></ul><ul><li>Maintaining lawful status </li></ul><ul><li>Family Unification Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Travel permission </li></ul><ul><li>Green card processing </li></ul><ul><li>Dealing with delays </li></ul>06/06/09
  11. 12. Issues of Concern to Foreign Nationals (continued) <ul><li>H-1B cap issues </li></ul><ul><li>Running out of time (6 year limit but some exceptions) </li></ul><ul><li>Continued strict scrutiny in adjudications </li></ul><ul><li>Inconsistent decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative changes </li></ul>
  12. 13. What are the stages to obtain a permanent visa or “green card”? <ul><li>Labor certification (DOL) </li></ul><ul><li>Immigrant Preference Petition (USCIS) </li></ul><ul><li>Adjustment of Status (USCIS) or Consular Processing (DOS) </li></ul><ul><li>Asylum, Deportation Relief, Special Immigrants </li></ul>
  13. 14. What is a Priority Date? <ul><li>For labor certification cases when the petition is filed with DOL </li></ul><ul><li>Non-labor certification cases, the date the USCIS receives the Immigrant Visa petition </li></ul>
  14. 15. What is the Quota Backlog? <ul><li>Limit on number of immigrant visas issued per year </li></ul><ul><li>Employment based preference categories </li></ul><ul><li>Per country limits </li></ul><ul><li>Filing multiple petitions </li></ul><ul><li>Cross chargeability </li></ul>
  15. 16. Immigrant Status based on an Offer of Employment <ul><li>Labor Certification </li></ul><ul><li>Test of the Labor Market </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment for U.S. Position </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non Professional </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prevailing Wage </li></ul><ul><li>America’s Job Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Posting Notice at Job Site </li></ul><ul><li>CAVEAT: Undocumented Workers </li></ul>
  16. 17. What are the labor certification exempt categories? <ul><li>Extraordinary Ability </li></ul><ul><li>Outstanding Researcher or Professor </li></ul><ul><li>National Interest Waiver </li></ul>
  17. 18. Extraordinary Ability Alien Category <ul><li>Alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Extraordinary Ability Alien (Continued) <ul><li>Small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor </li></ul><ul><li>Seeks entry to work in area of extraordinary ability </li></ul><ul><li>Entry will substantially benefit prospectively the U.S. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Outstanding Researcher or Professor <ul><li>Requires employer sponsor (permanent position) </li></ul><ul><li>Standard not as high as extraordinary ability </li></ul><ul><li>Defining “outstanding” </li></ul><ul><li>Recognized internationally as outstanding in the field </li></ul>
  20. 21. Outstanding Researcher or Professor (continued) <ul><li>Either private employer or university professor </li></ul><ul><li>Three years experience as a researcher </li></ul><ul><li>three full time research staff and institution has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field </li></ul><ul><li>For professor must be for a tenure (or tenure track) teaching position </li></ul>
  21. 22. National Interest Waiver <ul><li>Must show that it is in “national interest” to waive labor certification </li></ul><ul><li>No per se standard of qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced degree or exceptional ability </li></ul><ul><li>in the arts, sciences or business </li></ul><ul><li>Area of work that is of “substantial intrinsic merit” </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit “national in scope” </li></ul>
  22. 23. Issues Affecting Green Card Processing <ul><li>Quota backlogs </li></ul><ul><li>Maintaining lawful status while pursuing green card </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in Procedures/Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Delays caused by backlogs at the agencies </li></ul>
  23. 24. Continuing Challenges <ul><li>Be aware of requirements and pending changes when making decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping up to date regarding requirements and changes </li></ul>
  24. 25. Questions Law Offices of Suzanne G. Brummett 8 Corporate Park, Suite 300 Irvine, CA 92606 (949) 705-6575 [email_address]